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Apr 12, 2024 10:10 pm

Cavaliers lock up playoff berth by beating Pacers

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Donovan Mitchell scored a team-high 33 points, helping lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 129-120 win over the visiting Indiana Pacers Friday.

Jarrett Allen added 29 points and 13 rebounds for Cleveland (48-33), which clinched a playoff spot with Friday’s win. Darius Garland and Caris LeVert chipped in 16 apiece, while Evan Mobley scored 12.

Tyrese Haliburton and Pascal Siakam led eight players in double figures Indiana (46-35) with 19 points apiece. Myles Turner put up 17 and T.J. McConnell scored 16 for the Pacers, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Aaron Nesmith scored 15, Jalen Smith had 11 and Obi Toppin and Andrew Nembhard each added 10. Haliburton also had a game-high 12 assists.

After leading by 11 points at halftime, Cleveland picked up where it left off in the third quarter as Garland began the second half with a mid-range jumper, extending the lead to 72-59. From there, an 8-2 Indiana scoring run was stamped Haliburton’s triple, cutting its deficit to seven with 10:01 left in the third.

Indiana later finished the third quarter on a 9-2 run, as Toppin’s dunk with 11.1 seconds left cut Cleveland’s lead to 97-94 entering the fourth.

Georges Niang started the fourth quarter with his third triple of the game, giving the Cavaliers a 100-94 advantage. McConnell answered with a layup, but Garland’s stepback triple on the next possession forced an Indiana timeout.

Still trailing by seven, a pair of free throws from Nembhard and Haliburton’s fourth triple of the game cut the Pacers’ deficit to 107-105 with 6:29 left.

At the 4:04 mark, Mobley’s dunk gave Cleveland a 117-111 lead. Siakam and Garland then traded 3-pointers before Siakam scored four straight points, cutting the Pacers’ deficit to 120-118 with 2:04 to go.

With 50 seconds left, Garland’s stepback 3-pointer gave the Cavaliers a five-point edge. Nembhard then hit a pair of free throws, but Strus made two of three free throws for Cleveland to put it away.

Ben Sheppard’s 3-pointer cut the Pacers’ deficit to 37-31 early in the second quarter, but Cleveland embarked on an 8-0 scoring run capped with LeVert’s layup.

The Pacers were able to cut the Cleveland lead in half, as Haliburton’s 3-pointer reduced the deficit to 64-57 with 1:32 left till halftime.

Leading by eight on the final possession, LeVert’s 3-pointer gave Cleveland a 70-59 lead at the break.

–Field Level Media

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